Wednesday June 22nd, 2011

The Beat

A most-often weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

Rahul Jacob reviews two new books about the rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, judging one full of “crimes against the English language” and the other “a thing of rare beauty,” like the rivalry itself. . . . Mark Mazower on a book about kids torn from their families during World War II: “Children — what was happening to them as a result of the war, and what to do with them after it — turn out to have been at the epicenter of what [Zahra] terms a ‘psychological Marshall Plan.’ Through the arguments about children we come to learn much about postwar Europe’s state of mind.” . . . Donna Rifkind reviews a novel about a suburban Californian driven to extreme economic solutions in the summer of 1974. (“Drug lords, it turns out, are rather scary chaps.”) . . . F.X. Feeney reviews Christopher Sorrentino and Jonathan Lethem’s “lively and heretical” contributions to a new series of short, analytical books about oddball movies: “the salient reward of reading these Deep Focus books” is being driven “not just to the repertory theater or the Netflix queue but to books and criticism, to conversation.” . . . Michiko Kakutani says that Adam Ross’ new collection of short stories “point up both [his] extraordinary gifts as a writer and the limitations of his willfully bleak view of human nature.” . . . Sam Thompson reviews the latest from sci-fi crossover star China Miéville: “[L]ike H.G. Wells in The Invisible Man or The Island of Doctor Moreau, Miéville takes an impossible proposition and works through its implications with rigor.”